Walter Mencken 7 p.m., Dec. 10
On Saturday night we ended up in the Gaslamp after a few cocktails at a friend's condo. The Gaslamp was heaving with muscled young men and girls in short dresses filling the restaurants, sidewalks, and lining up for entrance to the clubs.
We pushed open a gate between two busy restaurant patios and rang the bell of an apparent lawyer's office. After a short wait, a doorman opened the door and asked us for the password. We said the word and were guided by flashlight down dark stairs into the basement.
On reaching the bottom, we found a narrow, wood-paneled room with a bar at one end and a saxophone player doing a great job of some smooth jazz numbers in the middle of the room.
Above: iPhone shot in Prohibition
It was amazing to find this oasis of tranquility in the middle of the Gaslamp on a busy Saturday night. The bar was uncrowded and we were able to sit, sip our cocktails, and enjoy the music in sublime peace.
I'm not sure how long the gimmick of the password will last or even if you said the wrong one whether you would be denied entry, but I have the feeling we have hit this bar, which has been open for a couple of months, at its sweet spot. It's a great place to chill awhile and a fun place to take a date. Right now, you feel like part of the in-crowd when you gain entry to this unmarked jazz bar. Soon, it will no longer be cool and someone will have to come up with a new sales gimmick.
I must admit, it takes a certain amount of chutzpa in this economic environment to go out of your way NOT to advertise your bar!
It's easy enough to find and get the word if you want to go. But why should I tell you?